Now, don’t get me wrong. I love technology as much as the next girl. I don’t have the budget to indulge in it much, but I am certainly drawn to gadgets and gizmos. Whozits, and whatzits galore. I don’t have the latest, greatest phone, but I am able to get online with it. I have a nifty little Facebook button on the screen that will hook me right up. And let me tell you, my finger has been itching to hit that button a hundred times in the last few days.
This Facebook fast has brought to light just how much I have been filling up the small seconds of life. I’m not gonna beat myself up about it, but the fact is, that’s not a good thing.
Because we need to be bored sometimes.
There need to be moments when there is nothing to do, but just sit there, with our brains idling. To observe. To think. To hum. To twiddle our thumbs.
I think about the kids, and how many days, I have to FORCE them outside to play. I have to endure their forlorn faces in the window, begging to be let back in where fun is only a click away. Sometimes it can take an hour for them to finally accept defeat, and be born away on the tides of boredom.
But you know what happens? Those turn into the best play days ever. They look around, find some old bucket, a couple 2×4’s, a length of rope, and a tarp. Suddenly, their bored little brains put all these things together, and their imagination cranks up. Forts are assembled, clubhouses are designed, grand schemes are hatched. Their moment of absolute and horrible boredom has sparked into something great.
We need that, too, y’all. We need a moment. We’re losing something here, by constantly providing our minds with an escape from boredom. What poems aren’t being written? What lines of music go uncomposed? What epiphanies are we missing because we’re texting or tweeting? With a phone in our hands, we’re closing the doors on the playground of the mind. And we need it no less than our children do. There is something in most parents that causes us to rant and rave about kids and their video games all the time. Go outside and play! we say. We know it’s important to their development for them to come up with their own games and occupations. The same is true for us. Boredom is the springboard for creativity. It’s uncomfortable- we don’t like it. But it’s what prompts us to change that discomfort, to make something where there is a vacuum. It is the birthplace of ideas. We can’t be afraid to go there, or we lose something magical.
So skip the ten minutes on your phone at lunch today. Instead, look around. Watch people. Don’t worry about looking like a tool sitting there all by yourself eating your meal. Let your mind roam freely, and see what happens. Be purposefully bored, and see if something good doesn’t come from it.
Happy day, everybody.